Utah Company Helps Address Coronavirus Outbreak

Pete CodellaArticles

The recent coronavirus has a Harrisville, Utah company to thank, in part, for helping to control its spread of the infectious disease.

A containment box made by Harrisville-based HHI Corp. in partnership with Kansas City, Missouri-based MRIGlobal, recently transported patients infected with the contagious disease. 

Fourteen Americans, among a contingent of more than 300 Americans on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, tested positive for the coronavirus disease and were evacuated back to the United States. U.S. officials transported them in a containment box made by HHI Corp.

The containerized bio-containment system, or CBCS, as it’s known, transported patients infected with contagious diseases, and HHI officials caught wind of its recent use in media reports.

“We saw the picture, and we were like, ‘Hey, that’s us,’” said Cliff Hokanson, executive vice president for HHI, a U.S. military contractor.

Just four CBCS containers — initially made in response to the outbreak of Ebola in Africa — exist, all made at HHI’s Harrisville facility. They are 44-feet long, look like long, rectangular boxes, and are designed to keep any pathogens inside from escaping. They have space for patients as well as caretakers.

“It’s incredible to be part of a global solution when we can contribute to the safe return of people who have been waiting,” said Regina Hokanson, HHI president.

Hokanson is a proponent of making more of the containers available. If deployed immediately on learning of a dangerous outbreak, they could help quickly contain it. Her husband, Cliff Hokanson, knows of just one other competing containment system, but it’s flimsier in his view, consisting of an exoskeleton surrounded by a thin membrane.